It's just a fun day where people can come explore — look at things they can touch and artwork they can do. —Virginia Catherall

Families are invited to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) to participate in Artful Afternoon, a free festival from 1-4 p.m. on July 20.

This festival happens once every summer and celebrates art through fun, hands-on activities, scavenger hunts, art-making and various performances. This year’s program is “Oodles of Doodles,” inspired by the current Drawing Lab exhibit. The program encourages visitors to explore all the different ways to draw, whether that be with ribbon wands, Spirographs, yarn or chalk, to name a few.

“This would be a great first visit for someone who has never been to the museum before,” said Virginia Catherall, the museum’s curator of education. "It's just a fun day where people can come explore — look at things they can touch and artwork they can do."

Artful Afternoon is just one example of many educational family-friendly programs that UMFA offers all year long. While this particular activity only happens twice a year, the museum hosts free art activities the third Saturday of each month that are inspired by the art being currently featured.

Families can also rent special backpacks, free with admission and available at the front desk, that contain fun games, puzzles and other activities that lead to different portions of the museum.

Classes for kids and adults and tours for groups of at least eight are also available all year long.

For Catherall, it's important that programs like this be available to kids.

"The philosophy of learning, in many museums, but especially here, is that in order to learn you really have to experience and do. ... Going around and looking at art is good, but the real learning and thinking comes from participation."

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located on University of Utah campus in the Marcia & John Price Museum Building, 410 Campus Center Drive.

For more information on Artful Afternoon or any other summer kids activity, visit